Spindel whorl from Sigtuna, SF 1502:ac inv. 123464

Spindel whorls made of bone have been found at many archeological excavations, from Swedish cities. They are dated from late 10th century and onwards to the 14-15th century.
The design is as simple as it is genius. A femoral head from an animal have been cut in half and a hole have been drilled in the centre of the semicircle piece. Creating a perfectly round spindle whorl. Sometimes a disc have been cut from the femoral head, making a slightly lighter whorl.

The whorls are sometimes decorated. Most common are the plain once.

The spindle whorl from Sigtuna is just one out of many, and we plan to post more pictures and measurements from them here on the blog.

SF 1502:ac inv. 123464
The spindle whorl measures 442mm wide, 24 mm thick.
It weighs 22g.
Dating- this whorl is undated, but similar whorls have been found from Sigtuna and they are dated 985-1000, 1075-1100, 1125-1175. So we can put this whorl in the same time.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sigtuna museum. Sigtuna was the first city in Sweden and the city was founded at the end of the 10th century. The city is very cute and if you ever visit Stockholm or Uppsala- take a detour to Sigtuna!

Happy spinning!
/ Amica and Maria

Medieval belt buckle from Kalmar, Sweden

Sometimes you find a find that you haven’t seen before, and you get really exited about it. This is one of them! This belt buckle is found in Kalmar, Sweden. It was found in the famous excavation Slottsfjärden, the castle bay, where the city of Kalmar emptied the bay of water during 1933-1934 and the bay got cleaned up. A pile of things were found but unfortunately a lot of the things are still very anonymous. And we don’t think they get the attention they deserve.

Today this lovely buckle is in the collections of Historiska Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.

According to the information the buckle, it’s dated to “medeltid” meaning Medieval 1100 – 1500AD . We guess that the dating could be a bit more narrow, we think it belongs in the time frame 1350-1500. Please share your thoughts on the subject too!

The metal is copper alloy. And the buckle measures:
Length- 6,4 cm
Width front- 6,7 cm
Width back- 5,8 cm

It still have some small pieces of leather, that probably was the belt, still attached to the metal. It has also a lightly ornamented decoration.

We really like it and hope that someone, that works with metal, would like to make a copy of it.

Happy weekend!
/ Amica and Maria

When sharing pictures please cred us. CC-By-SA

An unknow medieval lantern from Hälsingland

An unknown lantern from Järvsö in Hälsingland, Sweden.

In the Hälsinglandsmuseum collection there is a lantern in metal, HM5109. This lantern appeared in a search at DigtialtMuseum site, when Maria was looking for lanterns in October. It was not dated, but there was something about the shape that screamed “medieval” at her. The text “Help Maria Son” indicated that this had been produced before the Reformation. Our King Gustav Vasa split with the pope in 1524, and in 1527 the Riksdag in Västerås declared Protestantism and Catholicism as equivalent doctrines. 
 
Maria contacted the museum and they kindly sent some information to us. They had documents that indicated the lantern had a medieval dating. This made us excited and we booked a visit to the museum in order to look at this rarity. So, in the super cold of December we took the train to Hudiksvall to have a look at it.

The lantern is made of copper plate, possibly an alloy. The top is rounded and has a 25 small ventilation holes to release heat. The door is probably replaced as it does not follow the design or the material of the lantern. The door is made of iron and has an window opening. The door has metal strips riveted on the inside, sides and bottom. That creates a frame that allows a curved horn plate to be slid down and serve as a window. The door has remnants of an organic material at the bottom of the frame. Most likely, this is the remains of a horn plate. All rivets on the door are of iron. The hinges are of the same material as the rest of the lantern. The door also has a hasp for closing.

In the middle of the bottom of the lantern there is a hole, where the candle holder, the hollow, has probably been placed. However, it’s gone. The back of the lantern has nine holes where probably a handle has been attached. The two top holes still have rivets. The handle is missing.
 
The back of the lantern is richly decorated. In the middle of the back there is a foliage surrounded by a border. On the sides acanthus borders and text above and below. The top reads HELP MA, and the bottom RIA SON.
 
The lantern measures 23.5cm in height and 9,5 cm in diameter. The top is approx. 4-4.5 cm high. The door opening measures approx. 5.5-6 cm in width and the door is approx. 18-18.5cm high.
 
Dating. The lantern is interpreted, by Henrik Cornell, as a Swedish work from the end of the 15th century. We agree with the dating. Hand-held lanterns are quite often depicted in art and these seem to be common from the middle of the 15th century.

There are several pictures of lanterns of this design depicted in medieval art. We have chosen a small selection for illustration. We have not relied too much about the date of these pictures, but they all date to the latter part of the 15th century.

The lantern from Järvsö shows great similarities with the lantern from Källby, which today is to be found in the collections at Kulturen in Lund, Sweden. The model is quite similar, the decorations, the material and the separate top. This lantern is also interpreted as a Swedish work from the late 15th century.

We are, of course, incredibly happy that the medieval lantern has been rediscovered. And we are very happy that we have been involved in finding a somewhat forgotten medieval object.
/ Amica and Maria 
Pictures of the lantern: Historical textiles. CC-BY

A printed chasuble from Husaby church, Sweden

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a very rare object.
A block printed chasuble in linen from Husaby church, Västergötland, Sweden. Dated early 15th century.
The chasuble is in a remarkable condition considering it’s age. And it has kept it original medieval shape and have not been remade in any matter.

The chasuble consists of six different pieces sewn together and then printed on top of seams and everything. The fabric is woven in two shaft/ plain weave, and is a fairly even weave with high class spun threads. No lumps on the threads!

Originally it was printed with black paint, but it also show signs of being painted with a red, yellow and green paint on some places. The green paint have eaten the fabric and today the fabric is broken where it was painted.

The pattern bring to mind 14th century Italian silk weaves and it’s very easy to understand where the inspiration came from.

The print believes to be either Swedish or German. The print size is 44 x 15 cm.

Today the chasuble is to be found in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos by Historical Textiles and Historiska
Please use CC-BY if reposting.

A glove from Kalmar

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a glove from medieval Kalmar, Sweden. It was found in Slottfjärden, the castle bay, during the cleaning of the bay in 1932-34.

The glove is made in nålbinding/ needlebinding technique. The yarn is wool and might be mixed with some fibres from cow or/ and goat. We can’t tell what stitch that have been used. And we are more then happy to take new close up photos if anyone might have a good eye for analyzing stitches.

The yarn is two plyed. The dating of the glove is “medieval”- possibly 13th- late 15th century. 

Today the glove is in the collections of Historiska museet in Stockholm.

Sorry for posting an old photo from the database, but we have misplaced our photos of the glove. We will add them when we find em again.

/ Amica and Maria

Advent calendar December 24th 2018

Today we in Sweden celebrates Christmas.
Our twenty fourth advent calendar post is a silk and gold thread embroidery. It’s made in the studio connected to the famous painter Albertus Pictor. Aka Albert Pärlstickare  ( bead/ pearl embroider).

The embroidery is a back shield and was originally attached to a cope from Maria church, Sigtuna, Sweden.

The shield is dated to mid- late 15th century.

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.

God jul!
/Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles

Advent calendar December 23th 2018

Our twenty-third advent calendar post is a relics purse from Troyes, France. This relics purse is connected to the Comtes de Champagne. The whole surface of the purse is filled with counted embroidery made in filament silk. We don’t know what is underneath the stitches, but we guess at a very evenly woven linen.

We were really surprised bu the size of the purse, it’s quite large. Approx. 20- 25 cm in the bottom of the purse.
It’s in great condition and the small lovely turks head knots around the bottom and the lid are super cute and impressivly even.

This piece is dated to 13th century.

Now in collections of the Troyes Cathedral
/ Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles 

Advent calendar December 22th 2018

Our twenty-second advent calendar post is a detail from a gilded leather coverlet from Dalhem church, Småland, Sweden. This one is called Dalhem 2 since the church have got not only one but two coverlets connected to the church.

We would like you to look at the fabrics. The hard spun warp on the red fabric ( shows horizontal on the picture) and the thicker weft. And on the white fabric, that has got a z- spun warp and s-spun weft- giving a very dense look of the fabric. It gives sometimes a visual look of knitting when seen from the diagonal.

They piece is dated to late 15th early 16th century. 

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.
/ Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles 

Dalhem 2

Advent calendar December 20th 2018

Our twentieth advent calendar post is a small fragment of linen. Also today we show a quite unusual piece. It is a dark red linen fabric from Italy.
The fragment have got a small seam but we can’t say what it use to be. We know from sources that dyed linen did occur during the late medieval period in Italy. But it’s not the dye that we want you to focus on today.

We would like you to look at the seam. Check out the tiny back stitches. The scale above show millimeters. The stitches are less than 1 mm each.

They fragment is dated to late 15th early 16th century. 

Now part of the secret Italian collection.
/ Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles 

Tiny stitches